Shadow hangs over Moffat’s budget |

Shadow hangs over Moffat’s budget

Brandon Johnson

Moffat County commissioners decided the fate of Shadow Mountain Clubhouse a week ago.

But when they began to finalize the county’s 2006 budget at Tuesday’s regular meeting, the subject, by far the most controversial of the entire budget process, came up again.

Dean Gent, a rancher who served on the county citizen budget advisory committee, voiced his concerns about closing the clubhouse, 1055 Moffat County Road 7.

“I’m still trying to keep Shadow Mountain open,” Gent told the commissioners.

Commissioners voted 2 to 1 at last week’s meeting to close the facility, which has a swimming pool, hot tub and meeting rooms.

Commissioner Tom Gray voted to keep the facility open.

Gent told commissioners that the facility played an important role in the community.

“Government was designed to do for people what people can’t do for themselves,” he said.

“I don’t think Moffat County is doing that.”

Gent also said he thought commissioners already had decided what to do with Shadow Mountain months before last week’s meeting, when an overflow crowd of supporters asked commissioners to keep the facility open.

But Commissioner Darryl Steele said the board had been mulling what to do with the facility throughout the budget process.

“I can assure you, that was not an easy decision to make,” Steele said.

Commissioners said they have not made a decision about whether to sell the facility.

Commissioners eventually signed off on the 2006 budget at Tuesday’s meeting.

The county’s bottom line in the general fund of $10.04 million for 2006 is more than in 2005, when the county budgeted $9.5 million.

But even with the increase, the commissioners instructed every county department trim its budget by about 5 percent.

The money saved by the 5 percent cuts will be used to offset rising fuel costs, build capital reserves and fund capital expenses, officials said.

Overall, the county’s expenditures for 2006 will be $46.8 million. But that figure includes money spent on things over which the county has little discretionary control over, such as The Memorial Hospital, budget analyst Tinneal Gerber said.

Commissioners also certified the tax rate for 2006, which will be 18.04 mills.

The deadline for the county to send a final version of the budget to the state is Jan. 21.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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